Photo: Courtesy of GoMarquette.com
The Marquette Golden Eagles (7-7), trounced by Denver (#2/11-3) just five days ago 16-8 in Milwaukee, exacted revenge with a 10-8 victory in Providence, RI this afternoon. This is the second year in a row that Marquette has stunned Denver in BIG EAST Tournament play.
Marquette looked to be in control most of the game and never allowed Denver to get comfortable. The teams were tied at half – 5-5. The Golden Eagles held Denver to one goal in the third period and scored three goals to build a two-goal advantage heading into the final quarter. The teams traded goals the final period, 2-2, and the Pioneers could never close the gap.
Connor Cannazzaro and Tyler Pace each had hat tricks for Denver and Austin French scored a pair of goals. John Wagner killed the Pioneers with 4 goals for Marquette. Joe Dunn and and Grant Preisler each added a pair of goals for the Golden Eagles to finish off the Pioneers.
As games get tighter during tournament play, the difference is often goalkeeping, turnovers, and faceoff %. Marquette converted 10 goals on 18 shots while Denver could only score 8 goals on 20 shots. The Golden Eagles goalkeeper Cole Blazer who was run out of the last game against the Pioneers five days earlier owned the pipes this afternoon.
The Pioneers had a large number of turnovers again with 14 to Marquette’s 12. Nine of those came in the critical second half. DU won 14 of 22 faceoffs (64%) as the Golden Eagles Zachary Melillo had five days to counter super FOGO Trevor Baptist. The Pioneers cannot count on winning 75% of the faceoffs, especially come playoff time.
Now, it will be up to the selection committee to determine if Denver has earned a first-round playoff game at Peter Barton after falling to 7-7 Marquette team on a neutral field. A disappointing result after improved play the final third of the season. Denver’s winning streak ended at 6.